Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What Does Notre Dame Mean to You?






To me, Notre Dame represents a promise made, and a promise kept. In the late 1980s, I left a school district where the student population was dwindling. I took a job in a lower socioeconomic minority high school with only two foreign language teachers. They taught first and second year French and Spanish. When the French teacher retired, I took his position.

The graduation rate at this school was low, and the number of students going on to college was even lower. I believed the way to help these students reach their goals in life was through higher education. So I set out to make sure my students fulfilled the A-G requirements for college acceptance. I told them they were mine for four years, unless there was a more beneficial course for them to take in their senior year. The six new foreign language teachers we hired over the next few years followed my lead. The counselors knew what we were doing, and backed us up.

As I worked to make taking French or Spanish the “thing to do” at the school, several students asked to study German. Since I’m degreed, credentialed and experienced teaching German, we added it to the master schedule. District administration thought offering three languages was beyond the abilities of students at this school. We proved him wrong by giving students reasons to take the classes, and to stay with them until graduation.

One such enticement was language trips to countries where the languages students were studying were spoken. The first group we took was small. Most people at the school didn’t really believe we would go. But a dedicated group of students was not about to give up. One boy caught the measles. His doctor told him if he scratched, the sores would not heal in time for the trip. His brother told me it was awful watching him resist the urge to scratch. But he made it. He’s on the right in this blurry photo. 


So is Denise. On our first trip, we visited Paris. On the first full day, we went to see Notre Dame Cathedral. We wandered around inside. Each looking at whatever he or she found most fascinating. Then I saw Denise. She was standing about two feet from an interior wall. It was made of stone, and brown with age. I suggested she touch it. She was horrified. So I took her hand and placed it on the wall. I then named several historic figures who had also, perhaps, touched the same wall. This was a student who hadn't been anywhere. She could only come along because we sold everything we could get our hands on. She lived thirty minutes from the sea, but had never seen it.

Here she was in Paris, France, with her hand on the wall inside Notre Dame Cathedral, crying. She realized the significance of being where she was. She could set a goal in life, work hard, and realize it. I promised these kids I would take them to Paris, help them get into college and reach their goals in life. To me Notre Dame is a promise made to students who had dreams, but not the courage to fight for them. It’s also the realization of the promise kept. All five of these trip kids went to college. So did every other student who travelled to Europe with our school, and thousands of others who cheered them on and believed they too could reach their dreams. This is what Notre Dame means to me. 


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com



Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.








Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Don’t Let Your College Acceptance Turn into a Nightmare





Going to college is only a dream if you have a plan to pay for it, and you continue to work your plan. Far too many families think money for college will magically appear, but it doesn’t. Students who go to college on a full-ride did a great deal to earn their award. The most important thing they did was to apply for scholarships and/or grants over and over, until they had enough free money to pay for everything.

Paying for college entails having enough money for more than just tuition. There are books, fees, room and board to consider as well. Students whose families are extremely well off, and have put away enough money for retirement, may be able to help. Most families probably won’t be much financial help, however. Of course, if you live at home, room and board won’t be an issue, but transportation might be. I lived at home when I went to college. My family bought me a very inexpensive car, and I drove to campus and work daily. Tuition then was minimal and books were inexpensive. My job paid enough to cover it all.

A simple financial plan to pay for college might include looking for scholarships and grants while children are still in elementary school. At this time, parents are doing the searching and applying. As children mature, they should take over. In high school, they should be applying for scholarships at least three times each week, and more over holidays and vacations. A major mistake many students make is they stop applying for scholarships once they’ve been accepted to college.

Acceptance is an important step, but most of the time it has nothing to do with paying for college. If a college provides financial help through grants, scholarships or a work-study program, that’s great. It does not mean students should stop looking for more free money. When they do, they often realize too late, they can’t pay their bills. Taking a job might help pay for books or some fees, but it won’t cover everything, not by a long shot. Scholarships and grants are the best way to avoid needing to take out student loans.

The only time a student need not continue to apply for scholarships is if he/she has received a truly free ride. This must include tuition, fees, books, room, board and travel for all four years. These awards exist, and are wonderful. But every scholarship is not a free ride. Some only cover part of tuition or tuition for the first year. Many do not include books, or room and board. There are thousands of college students who are homeless and food insecure. There’s money out there to pay for all of this, but it won’t come looking for your student. Someone has to find it.

Parents who have purchased my book, Free College, know I provide a place in the book to record scholarships and grants. If you don’t have my book, be sure to purchase a calendar and notebook to keep track of all scholarships you've applied for over the years. If you don’t, you’ll become confused and miss something important, like a deadline. You can buy my book instead by clicking on the book cover in the upper right hand corner of this page. Continue applying for scholarships until your student has graduated from college debt free.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Will Sweeping Changes to College Admissions Help or Hurt Your Child?



This depends upon who you are and where you live. If you’re an alumni or a donor living in California (this is where the changes are starting), your child will no longer be given preferential treatment in college admissions. If you aren’t, then the proposed changes may help your child. They also make learning the sixteen defining habits of successful scholarship winners even more important than before. (To learn about these habits, click on the image of Free College, to the right of this post.) Although these modifications are proposed in California, they're likely to spread.

State colleges and universities in California don't presently award legacy or donor admissions to students, but some private institutions in the state do. The state legislature is looking into removing Cal Grants from colleges who continue to do so. I’m sure there will be a fight in the courts over this, so be aware everything about admissions is in flux. You can no longer count on your children being given preferential treatment.

They're also considering eliminating standardized testing such as the SAT and ACT from the admissions process. This will make other considerations, such as which courses are taken, their difficulty level, and the overall GPA even more significant. So if you aren’t involved in your high school student’s course selection already, you’ll want to look into them in the future. It would also be wise to read progress reports and report cards before signing them.

Another development is the regulation of admissions consultants. In the past, anyone could open an office, and do whatever they wanted to help parents place their children in the colleges of their choice. This led to the recent admissions scandal, and perhaps to people going to jail. Students who were implicated in the fraud will be inspected on a case by case basis. Those already enrolled may be expelled. Some who applied, but have not yet been admitted, have already had their applications rejected.

Many of the fraudulent admissions involved coaches. Some parents faked a history of participation in sports, and their children were admitted. In the future, it’s proposed that any student awarded “special admissions” for athletic, musical or other talent, be approved by an oversight committee of at least three staff members. This should level the playing field for students with exceptional talents.

It’s hard enough going through school, knowing you’ll need a college education in order to enter the field of your choice, without less qualified students sneaking in front of you. The proposed changes should eliminate this. However, if students who have been given preferential treatment in the past no longer have these benefits, parents will find other ways to help them. They’ll hire tutors to make sure their grades are high. They’ll give them private lessons in music or sports, all in order to give them a leg up in entering the college of their choice.  

In order to compete, learn what honest families do that results in both college acceptance and lots of scholarships. After doing extensive research, I found sixteen defining habits of graduates who won the most scholarship money for college. They’re in my book, Free College. Click on the image of the book cover in the upper right hand corner of this page to be taken to my book on Amazon. Do what other people don’t, and your children won’t have to worry about college admissions or scholarships. Both will come to them without cheating.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

How You Can Satisfy Your Curiosity about Free College





Recently I was interviewed for The Southern California Writers Showcase. This is a group of over 2,000 writers from Long Beach, south through Orange County, to the Inland Empire and even to the East Sierras. You can read the entire interview by clicking HERE. The interviewer was one of their writers, Jeanette Fratto. She’s a published author of a series of fascinating novels whose main character works in the probation department in Orange County, California. The questions I was asked in the interview were insightful, and I tried to keep my answers informative and succinct.

One question she asked was a first for me. She asked me to share a success story of one of the students who used all the tactics contained in my book, Free College. I told her about Mia, one of my students who was offered full-ride scholarships by Harvard, Yale and MIT. When she came home from a free trip to visit Yale and MIT, she was confused.

I asked her five questions about the colleges so she could focus. Were they accredited? Did they teach what she wanted to study? Were they well known in this field? Did they offer her the same amount of money, and/or would she have debt left to pay? Did she like the people she met there? She answered yes to all of them. I told her she was in luck. There was no bad decision. She could flip a coin. She was relieved.

Then Mia came back from visiting Harvard, again on their dime. She was confused all over again. I asked her the five questions once more. She answered the same for all of them. So I asked her where she felt the most comfortable. It was MIT, and she graduated from there with honors four years after her high school graduation.

It’s fun doing interviews. The questions allow me to zero in on what people want to know. Then I can advise them better. When I taught, my goal was to help students reach their goals. To do so, most students needed to go to college. I learned how to assist them, and later, when college costs soared, I showed them how to win lots of scholarships. I continued after my retirement. I did extensive research on how students earn the most free scholarship money, and wrote Free College

I hope all families learn the sixteen defining habits of successful scholarship winners I discovered and included in my book. By following the step-by-step guide I created, their kids can graduate from college debt free too. Everyone should be able to start their lives after college with no debt and a bright future, like Mia.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 

If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. It will take you to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it.